Whitwell Parish Council Meeting – 8th February 2012

For the sake of clarity: These are not official minutes of the Whitwell Parish Council.  These are notes taken and produced by Whitwell.info for the benefit of the community so that you may see the discussions and reasons around the decisions made, not just that a decision was made on your behalf as a resident.  Whilst we strive to make them 100% accurate, mistakes do unfortunately happen – If you spot a mistake, please let us know so that we may correct it as soon as possible.

We recommend that you read these notes in conjunction with the Whtiwell Parish Council meeting minutes when they become available from the Community Centre or on the Parish Council Website.

In Attendance

  • Cllr. Julie Burdett
  • Cllr. Scott Ellis
  • Cllr. Sandy Frow
  • Cllr. Stuart Maiden (Chair)
  • Cllr. Viv Mills
  • Cllr. Tom Munro
  • Cllr. Jeanne Raspin
  • Cllr. George Webster
  • Barry Woodcock (Clerk)
  • Cllr. Duncan Kerr
  • Cllr. Ken Stevenson
  • Mr Alastair Morley (Guest speaker)
  • PC Taylor
  • 12 members of the public

1. Apologies

There were no apologies.

2. 15 Minute Open Forum

2.1 County Councillor

Cllr. Stevenson explained that the budget for the county council is massive and there is no rise in council tax.  A £7m government grant is being taken but Cllr. Stevenson stated he does not know how far it will go in the £1bn. budget.  Due to the cuts there will be massive job losses: 600 in 2012/13 up to 2000 by 2015.  The grant doesn’t cover the savings as £2m needs to be saved up to year 2015/16 and this could go up more.  This will result in compulsory redundancies.

Cllr. Stevenson stated that the latest savings include £2m from the highways department who cover pot-holes and gritting; and ~£800,000 from the youth service.  A consultation is going around the county about what to do.  Cllr. Stevenson warned that any recovery will be slow growth and they will be getting rid of youth workers or want other businesses to take them over.  There is a big campaign against it and young people want a better service not cuts.  It was stated in a report that only 28% of youth are taking up the service but Cllr. Stevenson believes that this isn’t bad however for the Arkwright meeting the figure was revised to 6% reflecting that the figures were an orchestrated script for the consultation period.  Cllr. Stevenson explained that there is no plan B if the consultation goes against the planned action.

In addition £1.5m has been cut on elderly day care service and those people provided with their own budget which will be spent privately instead.

Cllr. Stevenson’s party was asked what would have been their alternative budget and in their first year in opposition one was put forward.  They thought it was good but failed on the vote.  Since then they have not put one through but will put one through in the election year 2013 that will best support Derbyshire.

In terms of the capital budget there is £1m for the big society which is grants for local organisations to spend on community projects.  This amount will not go far in Derbyshire especially when £300,000 of the budget is going on dredging Cromford Canal.  Cllr. Stevenson believes this could be better spent helping more people.  All of Cllr. Stevenson’s party voted against the revenue budget and went with the capital budget with the two reservations: youth service and elderly day care service.

The report on high vehicles was discussed at a Cabinet meeting.  Cabinet Officer Spencer agreed that Cllr. Stevenson could attend and he was given the opportunity to speak.  He put forward all of the issues in the report and that were discussed at the site visit.  The Cabinet were “poo-pooing” the issues.  They claimed that changing the bridges would be too expensive and the signage has been checked and is as it should be.  Traffic lights had been suggested for High Street but Cllr. Stevenson had been told before the meeting that these would cost more than the £20,000 to place a sign on the M1 stating there is a block on the A619, take the A57 instead.  The Cabinet did not go with the ideas.  For a one-way system to be put in place a roundabout would be needed and it would affect the other routes.  There was a suggestion of a speed limit change to make it 20mph but that would need restriction to make it work such as speed humps.  Additionally, vehicle activated signs were an option.  Cllr. Stevenson noted that these were going to be installed in the village previously but they were not put up.

Cllr. Stevenson wanted the condition of the highway to be improved, activated road signs and a sign on the M1 as sat-navs direct people to the A619.   However, foreign drivers would still use sat-nav and they do not always read the signs on the A619.  The cabinet went with the recommendation to include the steep section of High Street in a future maintenance scheme (2013) and installation of the activated sign.  In response, Cllr. Stevenson emailed Cllr. Spenser stating that the whole of High Street needs resurfacing especially the section from The Square to the church, mainly because of the high lorries carrying animals and effluent.  Cllr. Spenser’s response was that the request is technical in nature and will be submitted for consideration by the relevant team.  Cllr. Stevenson stated that he tried and the Cabinet listened.

A member of the public queried the position on youth clubs stating that as an OAP they were disgusted about it.  The DCC councillors are old, who is speaking for the young people?  The member of the public stated that halving expenses would keep them open.  Who had offered to do this?  Cllr. Stevenson replied that the councillors are shouting for the service and the young people are too, but it is Cabinet members who have a set agenda.  The member of the public stated that councillors need to think back to when they were young and had youth centres.  Cllr. Stevenson responded on the point of expenses that the leader of his party had been granted 45% of the council leaders salary and she had refused it while others are not getting pay increases.

One member of the public pointed out that joined up thinking is needed – last week the roads were gritted and the following day the road sweeper came round.  Cllr. Stevenson stated that it is DCC and BDC thinking that needs to be reviewed.  Cllr. Maiden highlighted that at least the grids would not be getting blocked up with the grit.

A member of the public referred back to the Cabinet comments on the road signs – the road signs are different and the conversion is wrong.  He asked how that can be adequate.  Another member of the public stated that this had been raised and they had been told there is a formula.  Cllr. Munro responded that it is ridiculous, a farce and that no formula is needed to round up/down when it is a simple calculation between feet/inches and meters.  Cllr. Stevenson agreed that it is nonsense.

Another member of the public acknowledged that trucks seem trivial against the youth and elderly cuts but stated that he is disappointed.  Cllr. Stephenson who presented the report starts with a negative and then tries to support it.  The report contains spurious claims and states that numbers have reduced when a letter states it has increased.  Cllr. Stephenson is about everything that they cannot do and not what they can actually do.  The member of the public stated that the man from VOSA was good and was going to have a go.  Another member of the public asked how Cllr. Stephenson can be removed from office; Cllr. Stevenson responded, through maladministration.  Cllr. Maiden suggested he be one of the job cuts!  Cllr. Stevenson stated that all arguments from the site visit were put in to the report but all but two were put-down.  Cllr. Stevenson wanted signage on the M1.

A member of the public asked what if the public raise the money for signage?  Cllr. Stevenson stated that they could get the Highways Agency to sanction it and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough to OK it as they deal with the A57.  However the Rotherham council want to do work at Todwick due to it being an accident black spot.  A member of the public pointed out in the report that Rotherham council had no objection.  Cllr. Stevenson stated that in the meeting the council had concerns around Todwick/Anston as there has been a high number of accidents and so they want to do work to reduce it.  Since the meeting Rotherham council have stated they have got to find an alternative route for traffic whilst they do the work – Whitwell!  Cllr. Stevenson wants to press the “powers that be” to avoid this.

Cllr. Webster had checked on the footpath from Welbeck Street to the Recreation Ground and it belongs to DCC.  Cllr. Stevenson acknowledged that it is in a poor state and he will put it through.

2.2 Police

There were 14 crimes during January:

  • 4 violence
  • 1 criminal damage
  • 6 thefts
  • 3 burglaries (dwelling and non-dwelling)

A member of the public raised concern that during the Junior Players in the last few weeks it has been dreadful outside the Community Centre.  If the youths are asked to leave they give abuse.  The children have even been threatened and so ask to be escorted to the toilets.  The youths were kicking the door which had been locked to keep them out.  It was opened to let the History Group in and locked again.  They were then hitting at the door.  At night there is only one person working at the Community Centre – it should be two people.  Something needs to be done.

Cllr. Frow added that the youths are doing damage and are throwing drinks about in reception.  Staff are frightened.  Last night there was at least 20 youths heading towards the Community Centre but if complaints were made and came to anything it would be their word against the adults’ and in today’s society it would be the children’s word that was taken.  The youths have been banging on the Council chamber door, in the foyer and car park.  It is on CCTV what they are doing.  Cllr. Frow acknowledged that there are no facilities for the youths but added that the council is working on this but they need money.  In the meantime people will stop using the Centre.  Tuesday is a busy night with people arriving between 6pm and 6:40pm.  Once people are in the rooms at 7pm the youths return and it starts.  Cllr. Frow did call the police and a PCSO from Clowne came.

The member of the public explained that the Junior players are aged 7-15 and they are scared.  The Junior Player leaders can go out to say something but get threatened; they are concerned that they will lose people.

PC Taylor acknowledged that there has been a problem for a while with a particular group.  The police have stepped up patrols and include the Community Centre.  Nuisance letters have been sent to the relevant parents informing them that their children have been involved in more than one incident and that this could lead to an ASBO.   A second lot of letters have now gone out.  When two letters have been sent to the same person the next stage is an ASBO.  Cllr. Frow argued that ASBOs are regarded as badges of honour.

PC Taylor continued that the police have been able to identify most of the youths on the CCTV.  The Community Centre Manager has put up a notice to stop people coming in if they are not using the centre and stating that no scooters etc. are permitted.  PC Taylor believes that there is one person who is the main instigator.  All of the youths will be visited in the coming week with a view to taking them to the police station.  The next stage is ASBO.  The police now have a signed-up vehicle that they can bring down but they need to identify the youths and see what they are doing.  The police will make arrests if seen at the time.

Cllr. Frow commented that the youths had been riding their bikes on the memorial last night.

Cllr. Raspin asked if they were Whitwell children.  PC Taylor responded that most of them were last night.

Cllr. Maiden asked what recourse the public has if the youths get an ASBO – do they get to know who they are?  PC Taylor stated that they can issue a leaflet showing who has got an ASBO and why.  Also people can ring the police if the youths are in the Community Centre and they will be arrested for breaching the ASBO.  They may then be warned and the ASBO extended.  She added that somebody had been publicised by leaflet in Creswell.

A member of the public asked what the point is if the ASBO will just be extended if it is breached.  PC Taylor explained that she is not sure if they will go to court straightaway or if it is a ‘two strikes’ approach.  Cllr. Mills stated that she is aware of someone in another part of the country who breached their ASBO 19 times before being taken to court.  PC Taylor reiterated that the approach is sending letters followed by an ASBO.  Cllr. Frow stated that we have just got to put up with it as the police do not phase the youths.  PC Taylor stated that people need to ring when it is happening and the police will deal with it.  Cllr. Frow stated that we do not want to end up like Creswell with nothing in the evenings at the centre because of the anti-social behaviour ruining it.

PC Taylor stated that they are trying to encourage Ozbox to take the trouble-makers off the street.  She confirmed that if members of the public are in fear they can ring 999, if it is a general report they should dial 101.

2.3 District and Parish Councillors

A member of the public highlighted that the Fox Road sign is missing at the junction with Welbeck Street.  Cllr. Webster made a note of this.  Cllr. Maiden suggested it could have been taken for scrap.

Another member of the public asked when the new Green street sign would be put up.  Cllr. Webster stated that it should be going up next week.

Following discussions at the last meeting, a member of the public wanted to highlight that they had observed the street cleaners clearing dog dirt on Welbeck Street.  Cllrs. Webster and Munro confirmed that they had also complained about mess.  Cllr. Munro added that he had complained about the section Holmefield Road to Welbeck Street and got a reference number.  Cllr. Webster reiterated that if the council find out who it is they will be dealt with.  Action that has been taken will be included in the next newsletter.

Cllr. Kerr informed the meeting that BDC are considering a 9% increase in social housing rents which is high.  Cllr. Webster responded that it is the government to blame as they have said the figure has to be at housing association levels.  Cllr. Kerr highlighted that it is only guidance from the government not an instruction and continued that it is unacceptable for low income people to pay high rent increases.  Cllr. Webster agreed.  Cllr. Kerr stated that the council need to consider this next week.

Cllr. Maiden referred to Cllr. Kerr: at the Alkane meeting last week there was a woman who was in discussion with H&BPC about use of the land, what was it?  Cllr. Kerr explained that if they want to sell the land for a low price, H&BPC could buy it.  They would be happy to share it with WPC.  Cllr. Kerr believes that it should be owned by local people as they have the best connections for users and know best what is wanted.  The site is being re-valued by the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) and H&BPC are waiting to see the outcome.  Cllr. Maiden explained that he has stated in previous Alkane meetings that WPC want to know about buying the land.   He asked that Cllr. Kerr keep them up to date and in writing for record purposes.  Cllr. Kerr agreed.

A member of the public asked what RFO stands for: Responsible Financial Officer as it was missing from the list of abbreviations used, as was WPC.

Cllr. Maiden asked if there would be any objection to suspending orders at agenda item 9 so that a member of the public could put forward his proposal.  There were no objections.

3. Resumption of Standing Orders

  • Moved

4. Matters Arising from Item 2

Cllr. Stevenson left the meeting.

Cllr. Munro asked if WPC should be requesting a copy of the report from Cllr. Stevenson as WPC is a very interested party.  He added that WPC should be on the distribution list and be able to respond.  Cllr. Maiden agreed.

Cllr. Frow was concerned about staff safety and said that they cannot deal with the problems at the Community Centre now.  Cllr. Maiden agreed that it is not their responsibility as WPC are their employers.  Cllr. Frow continued saying that people are frightened and that WPC owes the staff a duty of care.  Cllr. Frow stated that WPC should offer them protection.  Cllr. Munro suspected that there should be bodies that WPC can consult to get proper advice on how to deal with the problems.  He added that given the budget WPC cannot increase the supervision.  The first call should be to get professional advice to support the staff. 

Cllr. Mills  stated that she did not what WPC can do – only the police and CAM rangers can do anything.  Cllr. Maiden suggested that WPC look into the options.  Cllr. Munro stated that the Community Centre Manager should be asked to contact the Safety Officer.

Cllr. Mills asked the clerk if records are kept of communications with the police and their responses.  Cllr. Maiden stated that the Community Centre Manager keeps a record of the calls.  Cllr. Mills suggested that this may give them more backing if they have a record of what the police did.  Cllr. Frow stated that last night they were offered an officer and a PCSO from Clowne arrived who did not know anyone and had to leave because of an incident.  Cllr. Kerr stated that the police were at the H&BPC meeting at the time.

5. Approval of the Minutes of the Last Meeting

The clerk had an amendment to the minutes.  On page 2, item 7 the value of £184,005 had been missed out after “precept is now”.

There were no other amendments and the minutes were agreed as a record of the meeting.

6. Matters Arising from the Minutes of the Last Meeting

  • (2.4.1) Cllr. Frow asked Cllr. Webster if anything had been done about the land.  Cllr. Webster confirmed that he had been with officers to look at it and it was agreed that money would be put into next year’s budget for it.  The plan is to tidy it, put the coping stones back and re-plant.
  • (4) Cllr. Mills asked if the clerk had done anything about item 4.  Cllr. Munro stated that he was surprised that they were inviting the fire service adding that it should be a public forum not a WPC meeting.  Cllr. Maiden stated that it is part of the minutes and Cllr. Mills stated that she has no objection to an open meeting.  Cllr. Maiden suggested that it could be a special meeting.  Cllr. Munro proposed that there is a well-publicised special meeting with free gifts to encourage people to come – he suggested perhaps the annual Parish Council meeting.  Cllr. Mills stated that it would need to be soon as the fire service will get booked up.
  • Cllr. Mills asked if the clerk had written to BDC about the choice lettings.  He had not, Cllr. Munro asked what would he be writing about as it is not clear in the minutes.  Cllr. Maiden responded “what you asked for”.
  • (6.13.1) Cllr. Munro asked Cllr. Webster if there was any update for 6.13.1.  Cllr. Webster stated that he could not give the information at the time but can now confirm that a bankruptcy notice has been served and BDC are waiting for action on it.

7. Training – Statement of Intent

The clerk explained that in view of getting Quality Status by September it is necessary to have a Statement of Intent for staff and councillor training.  Cllr. Maiden asked if anybody had any issues with this, there were none.  He asked if there were any objections, again there were none.  Cllr. Munro moved the action.  The statement was therefore approved on 8 February 2012.

8. Provision of Grit Bins

Cllr. Munro stated that the clerk may have taken action to apply for grit bins for year 2012/13.  He believed that it may have been done.  The clerk stated that he had put in a bid for two bins on the sites proposed.  Cllr. Maiden asked where in the minutes does it state that it is the WPC policy to apply for the bins?  Cllr. Mills confirmed that it did not.  Cllr. Maiden continued that it was a suggestion and asked if the council wants to apply and pay the costs.  DCC will provide one bin free and will fill it the first time for free, afterwards it would be down to WPC to pay for and organise.  He asked if the council wants WPC to pay for something that is DCC’s obligation to provide and that people pay their council tax for them to provide.  He also added that there has been a petition in the Community Centre against the cuts and ask that by asking for a bin, WPC is actually supporting these cuts.  There is a cost of £75 per fill and recently it has been put on people’s drives and footpaths rather than the roads.  Cllr. Maiden stated that he cannot agree to take on another council’s obligations.  Cllr. Maiden proposed that WPC do not go down that route.

Cllr. Burdett asked that if there is a need for more, could WPC ask DCC for another bin that they maintain?  Cllr. Maiden stated that WPC has done and DCC objected due to money.  He added that people have asked for extra bins but not in the areas suggested at the previous discussion.  Cllr. Raspin stated that she thought they had to be where they could cause obstruction if a vehicle was stuck.  Cllr. Maiden stated that he is not aware of the criteria and highlighted that the bins are not in the worst areas now, for example Bakestone Moor.  It is DCC’s job and if the criteria apply they should be there.  Cllr. Ellis asked that if WPC take up the free bin, are they signing up to be responsible for it?  Cllr. Maiden confirmed, yes but added that he is against the idea as they get abused.  He raised the question after last week’s snow would WPC refill the bin now for next week’s snow? 

Cllr. Burdett asked if WPC would become responsible for the bins in the future with the community changes.  Cllr. Webster did not know.  Cllr. Burdett suggested that WPC take advantage of the free bin to avoid paying for one in the future. 

Cllr. Maiden reminded the council that there is a proposal in.  Cllr. Munro stated that there are criteria set out in the DCC pdf for requests and asked why they are there if DCC did not think it was valid use of BDC and parish council budgets?  It is a safety issue and that is why the two areas were suggested.  He added that DCC are cutting back, it was heard at the meeting tonight, and the bins will not be supported.  He did however accept the arguments that people will use the grit inappropriately.  Cllr. Burdett stated that she is inclined to take anything that DCC offer.  Cllr. Maiden responded: “and then pay £75 for each fill every time it snows?”  Cllr. Raspin suggested that WPC agreed to fill the bin once a year.  Cllr. Mills asked what the point in an empty bin is.  Cllr. Webster asked what WPC would tell the areas without a bin, that they are paying taxes for other people?

Cllr. Maiden returned to the proposal.  Cllrs. Maiden, Webster and Mills were in favour; Cllrs. Burdett, Raspin, Ellis and Munro were against.  Cllr. Frow abstained.  The proposal was defeated – WPC will be asking for the bins.

Cllr. Munro proposed that the criteria are forwarded to the clerk and WPC apply for bins in the 2012/13 budget and include it in the budget meeting.  Agreed.

9. Audio Recording of Meetings

Cllr. Webster moved that WPC came out of standing orders for this item.

A member of the public explained that the idea of recording meetings was raised in July last year when he was on holiday.   He explained that recording meetings is standard at district and council meetings and an audio recording would give a fuller and more accurate record of the meeting.  Further research suggests that it may help with the Quality Status based on two guides from the National Association of Local Councils (NALC).

It would help to inform the public who are currently only informed by those attending.  The minutes are brief and give no intent behind the decisions. 

The member of the public continued that in a letter dated 23 February 2011, Bob Niell MP requested transparency and public access to bloggers and “citizen journalists” as Whitwell gets no press from the established media, only from those who live in the village and provide such news.

The member of public stated that many of the councillors will have seen the notes put together and gave out copies.  He highlighted that they could be wrong and recording could help to avoid any mistakes.

The member of public suggested that WPC could record the meetings but there would be a cost.  The equipment however is less than £100 and could be saved from the website budget which is three times more than it needs to be.  Alternatively the member of the public could record the meeting and give a copy to WPC with a written agreement providing safeguards.  He provided a copy of a draft agreement.

Cllr. Munro asked that if that is the case, will the whole recording be put up on the website without editing?  The member of the public stated it could.  On his website there would be a full transcript and the full recording bookmarked for each section.  Agreement item 6 – if using a clip, clearer provide a link to the full recording.

Cllr. Maiden asked if there were any questions.  The clerk responded that it is a recognised practice that minutes record the decisions made and are not verbatim.  The member of public agreed but stated that even in comparison to the brief minutes of Creswell and Clowne councils those of WPC are very brief.  The clerk stated that he is aware that some town and parish councils record meetings but they destroy them after the minutes are made.  Cllr. Webster stated that BDC keep the recordings for 12 months.

Cllr. Frow stated that she is concerned about who records the meeting and stated that it should be WPC’s own recording.

Cllr. Mills sated that there is no option.  It would help blind people who cannot read the meeting minutes but could listen to the tape.

Cllr. Maiden stated that all the paperwork was on the table.  He proposed that WPC obtain the equipment to record and make it available to the public.  Cllr. Munro stated that WPC would need to say how they would be made available.  Cllr. Maiden responded: through the website.  He suggested an alternative proposal: To resolve to obtain equipment to audio record the meetings and make it available on the website.  Cllr. Munro stated that in normal circumstances the minutes are not made available until they are approved so would the recording need to be available a month on?  The member of the public asked why a recording would need approval?  Cllr. Munro explained that he was trying to be water-tight legally.  The member of the public responded that he agreed but that the minutes are an interpretation.  Cllr. Maiden stated that the minutes would still record the actions.  First WPC need to agree if they are going to do the recording and then look at the details.  Cllr. Munro responded that they need to know the details before voting for example how it would be managed.

The clerk stated that Cllr. Munro mentioned managing the recordings and stated that they cannot if it is available to the public.  Cllr. Munro stated the issue is when it is available to the public.  Cllr. Maiden stated there would be copyright.

Cllr. Mills asked the members of the public present if they would feel intimidated by the meeting being recorded, the answer from all present including Cllr. Kerr had no objections and were in favour of it happening.

The members of the public stated that why would they hold back because of a recording; the recording would show the here & now; once something has been said it’s been said; if going back on something it would need to be talked about at the next meeting – if it was said it would need to be backed up.  A member of the public stated that they wonder if there is an interest.  Another member of the public said that there may be people who cannot attend the meetings. 

The proposing member of the public stated that 30-40 people read the notes on his website.  Cllr. Frow confirmed that she had been asked where the notes could be found.  A member of the public asked where the finance would come from.  Cllr. Maiden reiterated it was in the notes provided that it could come from the website budget.

Cllr. Burdett stated she had concern that when something exists as a recording it is there for people who can edit anything.  Not everybody is a good speaker or articulate and it may make people reluctant to speak because of how they speak.  People can approach the councillors at anytime to discuss things.  Cllr. Raspin agreed that people could feel uncomfortable and concerned that what they say does not come across well or how they intend it to.  She stated that phone numbers and email addresses are available if people want to ask about decisions etc.  Cllr. Maiden stated that it is the ethos that councils should be transparent.  He thinks that recording is the most transparent and gives the what and why.  Everyone would be able to understand the debate.

The proposing member of the public stated that, not wishing to offend the councillors, they are not getting any younger and so future councils will not necessarily know why the decisions were made.  Cllr. Frow asked how long the recordings should be kept for.  A member of the public suggested 12 months.  Cllr. Munro stated that is what BDC do but it was not decided for WPC.  Member of the public asked how long the paper records are kept for, they are kept forever.

A member of the public asked what if people do not have internet access.  Cllr. Maiden stated that there is access in the library with staff to help.  There would not be a hardcopy of the recording.  The clerk re-iterated that people would still get the minutes.  The member of the public stated that they would want to know more be voting (if they were in a position to do so).

Cllr. Maiden stated that there is a proposal which had been seconded and no amendments were given.  A member of the public asked if the proposal stated “in its entirety”.  The clerk repeated the proposal.  The member of the public said it should state in its entirety.  This was agreed.  A member of public asked if would include non-confidential business only?  Cllr. Maiden stated that the decisions on confidential business are released to the public.  Cllr. Kerr stated that whilst the confidential items were part of the meeting they often contain details that relate to members of the public/staff that should not be disclosed at that moment in time.

Cllr. Maiden stated if people disagree with what is agreed in meetings they may turn up.  A member of the public stated that it is discussions and not decisions that get debate flowing.

The meeting returned to standing orders and the proposal was voted on.  Cllrs. Mills, Webster and Maiden were in favour; Cllrs. Frow, Munro, Burdett, Raspin and Ellis were against.

10. Accounts for Approval and Payment

The cheques were approved and signed.

11. Financial Reports

There were no issues or concerns to report.

12. Correspondence

Cllr. Munro asked what the “healthy future for transport” was and if they want a response or if it is a waste of time.  There was no discussion.

There was a leaflet about keeping Derbyshire roads in a good state of repair.

There was an email from VOSA who attended the early morning meeting.  They will allocate two days in March for an enforcement officer to gather evidence in an unmarked car to assess the vehicles and if they are legal or not.  VOSA will then contact those illegal vehicles to advise them of this.  They would also contact the legal vehicles asking them to look for an alternative.  They will also contact Derbyshire road policing.  The officer is aware that a Monday is good and asked for another suitable day.  Cllr. Maiden stated that the councillors should think about it and then get back to VOSA.  In the letter it suggests that WPC do another 24 hour survey.  The clerk stated it was not in the email.  The response will be that WPC will get back to VOSA.

Matt Bennett has asked if a charity day can be held on the recreation ground on 6th May 10AM-6PM.  He would need the gate keys and the event will include games and a bar.  Licensed security would be present.  There will be no charge and Mr Bennett will sort out the paperwork.  The charities will be Bluebell Hospice and one other.  The clerk stated that it was held last year.  The councillors agreed they have no objection as long as it is held in line with the relevant requirements.

There was correspondence from DCC regarding the proposal for changes to the youth services.  The 10 week consultation began on Monday 9 January and the closing date is Sunday 18 March.  Cllr. Maiden suggested that it is an agenda item for the next meeting and a formal response be sent.  It was agreed.

There was an additional letter regarding the youth service that says the same thing and gave dates for meetings, four of which have past.  The next meetings will be on 24 February at County Hall and 25 February at Erewash.  Cllr. Maiden stated it should be included in the agenda-ed item.

Mr Robinson of Milton Keynes paid a recent visit to the cemetery and found that renovation to a memorial stone was needed.  He was shocked at the prices given: £75 to clean and restore the stone paid to the council; and £175 for a new stone.  He stated that he found these prices surprising and asked if there was any room for negotiation and what the purpose of the money was.  The clerk had responded on the use of the money.  Mr Robinson also asked if more remains could be added to his parents’ grave.  Cllr. Maiden stated that there are two issues, the first being the stone on the grave of Mr Robinson’s parents.  Cllr. Maiden did not recall any fees for renovation or replacement.  There is a charge for the first stone and adding names to it.  The clerk responded that there is an added complication in that it is a headstone in the cremation area and the policy now is to only have desktop (flat) stones.  He advised Mr Robinson.  Cllr. Maiden had no objections to the headstone being cleaned with no charge.  He was not however sure about a new one as it would need to be a desktop stone where a headstone had been.  Cllr. Maiden would prefer Mr Robinson to have it renovated at no charge.  Cllr. Munro agreed that it would be in keeping.

Cllr. Maiden stated that there is the second problem of whether others can be put under the stone.  He asked if the stone would need to be changed and if it is physically possible to do it.  The caskets are 2 feet square in area and they would need to be moved down to add others – would this be exhumation?  The clerk responded that it would.  Cllr. Munro said that it needs to be reported back.  Cllr. Maiden stated that WPC need to be definitive that it is not physically possible.  The WPC response would therefore be that Mr Robinson could renovate the stone at no cost but other relatives would have to be put in another area of the cemetery with the agreement of the joint committee.  Reasons would have to be given.

A further letter related to the youth service meetings.  The schedule has been amended and there will be a meeting on 15 February in Buxton.

13. Planning Matters

Cllr. Webster declared an interest and left the room.

There was an application from DCC for a piece of plant at the Whitwell works – a Mr Bowman for Steetley.   Cllr. Frow asked if she needed to declare an interest as she sites on the panel for Steetly but as she does so on behalf of WPC she did not need to do so.  Cllr. Maiden stated he had no objections as it would prolong the use of the site and support employment.  Cllr. Munro moved that there were no objections.

The clerk had received three applications for the same thing but at different sites from BT Openreach.  The applications were for equipment cabinets at 20 Hangar Hill, 6 Smithfield Lane and on the green opposite 1 Worksop Road.  It was stated that the cabinets are already there so these would be replacements.  Cllr. Kerr broke standing orders to highlight that they are for additional cabinets not replacement ones.  All councillors then reviewed the plans.

Cllr. Mills stated that they would need to consider the handrails as they were put there for health & safety reasons.  All were reasonably happy and acknowledged that there would be better broadband.

There was an application for an extension and alteration to stables at 1 Hillside Close.  Cllr. Frow asked if it is the property that had the bungalow extended, Cllr. Maiden confirmed that it is.  Cllr. Frow asked if she should declare an interest but other councillors agreed that she lives far enough away.  The property is not in the conservation area.  There were no objections.

There was an application for the construction of an extension to the front of 55 Bakestone Moor.  It would be two storeys and a single storey extension.  There were no objections.

Cllr. Webster returned to the meeting.

14. Progress Reports

Cllr. Frow stated that the advert for new playscheme staff had gone out and there were 10 replies.  Norma sent out the form and all have the relevant qualifications.  Interview dates have been set.  For Easter there should be a full staff.  The clerk stated that the Playscheme is £400 over budget and that the advert had cost £450 and is considered a consumable.  Cllr. Frow stated that she thought it would come from the WPC advertising budget.  She added that the playscheme will find the money and overall they are on track.

Cllr. Munro attended the second BDC local liaison group who were spoken to by Eric Thompson, Chief Executive of the Two Shires Credit Union which services Bassetlaw and BDC.  They want to encourage councils to offer a facility for Two Shires Credit Union to have a collecting point in the village.  Cllr. Munro had got leaflets for all and requested that it is put on the agenda of the next meeting and invite Eric Thompson to give a presentation to consider if it would be possible.  Cllr. Webster highlighted that there had been one in the past that Dennis Reynolds ran.

Cllr. Maiden asked if could be April and not March as the agenda is looking full.  Cllr. Munro responded that this would be OK but at a time in society where there is a lot of lending there are doorstep lenders in the village now who have extortionate rates unlike the Credit Unions.  He stated that WPC need to act quickly to help people.

Cllr. Frow asked to give a quick update on the initiative and fundraising.  They have identified funding streams that are accessible and are acting on what the youth are looking for.  The initiatives and Funding Group are meeting regularly and identified where the need is in the village and the streams of funding.  They have contacted the relevant people.   A MUGA (Multi-Use Games Area!) would be the best use.  The Group are having meetings to agree and put together a bid to take to the funders.  They are on course but it is time consuming.

Cllr. Ellis stated that at the last meeting it was agreed to include Whitwell Forward and he had spoken to Wayne who agreed to join.  Cllr. Frow stated that Whitwell Forward may be able to get other funding that is not available to WPC.  Cllr. Maiden confirmed that they are looking at Bakestone Moor as well as the recreation ground – wherever it is needed in the village.

Cllr. Maiden explained that WPC and H&BPC agreed on the creation of a Joint Cemetery Committee (JCC)to run the cemetery for WPC.  The idea was that as Hodthorpe & Belph residents are not part of Whitwell Parish would pay double the cost.  The Joint Management Committee means that H&BPC pay a proportional amount of the maintenance costs and residents pay the standard rate and not the double charge.  The Committee is made up of four councillors from WPC and two from H&BPC.  The first meeting will be in May when they are elected at the May Parish Council meeting.  However, the Joint Management Committee will be running from 1 April 2012.

15. Date of the Next Meeting

14th March 2012

16. 15 Minute Open Forum

A member of the public asked about the grit bins – how do WPC inform DCC that the bins need filling?  Cllr. Maiden responded that they just wait for them to do it and do not know when that will be.  DCC will fill the bins when asked under the scheme.  The member of the public responded that a record should be kept of when the bins are filled.

A member of the public stated that with regards to BT, as at the end of January people should be able to get an upgrade to 24 meg if they talk to their service provider. Also Sky broadband is now available in the village as part of Sky’s low cost bundle packages.

A member of the public (the proposing member) stated that they were highly disappointed on the decision about recording the meetings despite the government letter.  Another member of the public was also highly disappointed that WPC felt threatened by the public being able to scrutinise their performance.  Westminster is televised.  Cllr. Munro stated that they had a debate and it is at an end.  Cllr. Raspin stated that it is the problem of WPC not owning the recording.  Cllr. Webster questioned what they would do if they climbed the ladder to BDC where the meetings are recorded.  Cllr. Raspin responded that she would deal with that if she went up the ladder.

A ember of the public stated that they are an ex-police officer and listened to the discussions.  He explained that he thinks the council is going wrong in that they need to contact he divisional commander and keep a record of the call outs.  The PC is doing her best but the council needs the divisional commander to come in and take action.  The clerk stated that he has only emailed the local commanders and that contacting the divisional commander has not done any good in the past.  A member of the public stated they had identified and reported a car with no tax but had not luck.  He contacted the commander and got an apology the next day for action not being taken.

Member of the public:  Cllr. Munro said that WPC should see DCC document about the proposal for the trucks.  The member of the public was going to ask if WPC could respond.  It was agreed that WPC need to.

17. Resolution to Exclude Members of the Public

  • Moved

Whitwell Parish Council Meeting – 12th October 2011

For the sake of clarity: These are not official minutes of the Whitwell Parish Council.  These are minutes taken and produced by Whitwell.info for the benefit of the community so that you may see the discussions and reasons around the decisions made, not just that a decision was made on your behalf as a resident.

Update: The minutes have been updated to correct an error in item 16 since first published.

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